The home was managed by the Sailor’s Society, which was a Christian charity that supported the families of men that were working at sea. It is reported that hundreds of children were sent to live at Lagarie between 1949 and 1982.
In 2018 more than a dozen people came forward to the BBC’s Disclosure programme with details of the abuse they suffered while they were a resident at Lagarie. Lawyers have taken legal action against the charity in two test cases.
A former victim, Roddy Austin, told the BBC how he was repeatedly abused whilst he was a resident in the 1960s.
He said: “Unless you’ve lived it, you can’t experience it, you can’t try to fathom what went on in that place.” Speaking about the Society and the test cases Mr Austin said “even though they promised ‘we will make things right’, they haven’t. They need to make it right for us instead of sitting on their back ends thinking it’ll go away.”
The former chief executive, Stuart Rivers, apologised for the abuse that happened. Mr Rivers resigned in May 2019 and said that: “I was horrified when I heard these accounts. We do regret any abuse happened and we have apologised unreservedly that this abuse happened.”
“He added that he could not change the past but he could make sure the charity did things right now.”
Lawyers of the victims are now taking two test cases to court as they claim that the Sailor’s Society has failed to correspond with them since the BBC documentary. The charity have not admitted liability for the abuse or engaged in discussions with the lawyers.
In a statement made by the spokeswoman for the Sailors’ Society said: “We deeply regret that any child was abused at Lagarie and we have apologised unreservedly for any abuse that was suffered by children who were in the care of the British Sailors’ Society (Scotland) at that time.
“The current Sailors’ Society is a very different organisation. In recent years we have worked hard to respond as fully as we can. We have met with survivors, kept up contact with survivors who have wanted contact with us, financed counselling, asked police to reopen their investigations and fully cooperated with the police and the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. We cannot comment further given the sensitivities of the matter and the fact that this is the subject of legal action.”
If you have been a victim of child abuse and would like to speak to one of our specialist abuse lawyers in confidence, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can advise you on the available options for pursuing a civil damages claim. Jordans successfully represent and secure compensation for numerous victims of abuse and are experts in overcoming the particular challenges that arise in these sensitive cases. Our abuse team can be contacted on 0800 9555 094 or 0330 300 1103.